A Detroit native Henry L. Jones is known to dig deeply inside his cultural roots for inspiration and find the right way to express himself. He’s an award-winning poet, visual artist, playwright, and performance artist/actor is inspired by links to the African Diaspora and his heritage as a Black person. He seeks the human elements which all people can relate to. As a cultural builder, he constructs bridges of humanity to connect lives. Also, an activist, his art gives a voice to world problems which are difficult but needed topics to talk about. He wants his art and words to give a voice to people who can’t express what they’ve experienced or enduring. In the arts Jones’ work often focuses on historical events, identity explorations, cultural connections, social issues, spiritual roots and personal experiences. He strives to reach hearts and minds whether creating images with words or art. From lots of dedicated years of creating, he’s won awards and received recognition for his work. Jones has been writing since he was seven years old and debuted as a professional artist in 1991. As a result, his work has reached international viewers and listeners. In the arts, he’s known for his colorful, provocative abstract paintings. His art has hung in many museums, galleries and cultural centers in the United States and abroad such as New York, Chicago, Atlanta, New Jersey, Detroit, Tokyo, Nashville and other cities. He’s featured and interviewed often about in many media sources of print, TV, blogs and radio. Recently, he was interviewed about his art exhibited at the Parthenon Museum’s Kindred Links exhibit by NPR. At this exhibit hung his large scale abstract paintings made by his gibbing painting method and his poetry displayed. Jones stays busy with numerous projects, events and exhibits which overlap creatively. He collaborates often with other artists or shares his other forms of expression in his own work. Some of his achievements include: 2021 Inaugural Poet Laureate of Hendersonville, Tennessee; Art Wire Fellow (Writing) of the Porch and OZ Arts Nashville; Visual Artist Fellow of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra’s Tennessee At the Millennium NEA Program; Listed poet Academy of American Poets, Nashville Scene Magazine’s Top Pick for his play Mud Man Evolution: Born from Tears; GANSPA Award (national and state for mixed media); Nashville Scene Magazine’s Critic’s Pick – National Black Poetry Day Festival Feature; The Tennessee Tribune Magazine Top Book to Buy (Run into Blackness); Vanderbilt Fellowship (Writing), the Vanderbilt Appalachian Student Health Coalition; Commissioned Poet for House of Blues and Platinum Entertainment’s gospel release Houses of God; Poet of Line Breaks Literary Reading Series; Featured for Nashville Harlem Renaissance Tour at Van Vechten Art Gallery sponsored by Blackside, Inc., Cheekwood Museum, The Parthenon LINKS, and N4ART; Collaborated (poetry) with photographer Carlton Wilkinson for his African Male Museum photography series; Selected poetry/play and art for Carl Pope’s Nashville Visionaries Arts Installation; Poet-in-Residence of Hendersonville Library and others. In Visiting writer and visiting artists programs, he’s lectured at universities and colleges as well as conducted workshops in communities. Jones has spoken at conferences as a panelist about his art. He served as an artist-in-resident at Zaire Unlimited Performing and Cultural Arts Center where he painted murals and conducted art classes. As a featured poet at poetry venues, universities and libraries, Jones is known to take listeners into a detailed journey with audiences at Scarritt-Bennett Center’s Poet’s Corner, Frist Art Museum Chaos and Awe exhibit; Parthenon Museum Poetry and the Parthenon; Folk & Bluegrass Festival Historic Rock Castle, San Jose, Beautiful Black Books; Southern Festival of Books, Chapter 16; Black Poetry Day, and others. His words vividly paint images which transport the audience. He has published poetry in many anthologies, journals, magazines, film projects, newspapers and arts projects. Among such publications they include Art Wire Film, The Word Peace Journal, The Willow Review, Ice Flow Press, 20/20 Vision: A Collaboration of Poetry and Photography (by The Rockvale Review) He’s hosted open-mic poetry events as well as curated exhibition spaces. His art images have appeared on the covers of books, magazines and journals as well as featured within the inner pages of publications, such as the Rockvale Review and The Willow Review. Also, he’s served as an editor of numerous anthologies, journals and newsletters. Recently, he co-edited the anthology SINEW: 10 Years of Poetry in the Brew. He has poetry forthcoming in two anthologies in 2023, American Graveyard, A Call to End Gun Violence and In the Fullness of the Word: An Anthology of Black American Poet Laureates. Currently, he’s developing more poetry projects, building a series of colorful sculpture, creating more painting for future exhibits, working on two films, finishing some books (a series for child and his 2nd poetry book) and looking for places to produce a future play. Jones is the author of three poetry books: Black Skillet Blues: Poetry without Cornbread (Beatlick Press in progress), Run into Blackness: Felling My Poetic Gumbo (Pneuma Publishing International, Inc.) and a self-published chapbook Tell Me No Lies. Jones is a graduate of Fisk University. He lives in Middle Tennessee with his wife. They have three adult children. His family helps to keep him grounded as he creates.
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